Chris Jopp’s short horror film feels like a lost segment from “Cat’s Eye.” It’s a nice and fun horror tale about fate intervening and coming to rescue of someone who didn’t know they needed rescuing. Samantha just moved in to a new apartment in a new town and has to deal with an overbearing mother who insists in calling her every chance she gets. What worse, is that she also has to deal with a very intrusive and overly attentive landlord who insists that pets are not allowed in the building.
Director Amy Grappell digs deep in to her childhood and touches upon a part of her young life that normally might hurt others or inspire discomfort. In 1969, Amy Grappell moves from Brooklyn to Long Island with her mother and further. Both parents were struggling with their own marriage and were working hard to stay together. After meeting another couple at a local beach club, both her mother and father Paul and Deanna eventually found kindred spirits in Eleanor and Robert, both of whom were also struggling with their own marriage at the time.
Director Joseph Bennett and Charles Huettner’s short “Scavengers” originally premiered on cable television and is admittedly at home in the Adult Swim studio library. The studio that thrives on creating different entertainment, “Scavengers” is an ambitious and thought provoking animated film with no dialogue, but incredible sound design. The experience of “Scavengers” hinges on every sound we hear in this new environment, and we’re thrust in to a new world without having characters over explain and hold our hands through what we’re watching.
Lluís Quílez’s short science fiction drama reminded me of the famous opening line from Frederic Brown’s “Knock”: “The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door…” Director Quílez centers his science fiction tale on a man named Edgar who spends his days biding his time for inevitable rescue, and looking for some semblance of companion ship in his every day life. Edgar walks around the ruins of his city after an undisclosed “incident” has caused many to flee or die off.
So many, many short films are made each year, yet a lot of film fans overlook them, thus making themselves a disservice. 2016 saw a fantastically good crop of shorts from a variety of countries, showcasing the talents of filmmakers worth watching. In 2016, I saw over 175 short films through film festivals, Vimeo, YouTube, etc. Choosing a top 10 was tough this year and kept changing from day to day. Out of those ever changing titles, here are the 10 Best short films, or my 10 favorites at the moment, and a bunch more worth checking out.
Special mentions (aka I wish it were a top 25): Innsmouth, Postpartum, Stained, Injustice for All, Japanese Legends: Slit, Watchbear, The Puppet Man, Kaddish!, Little Boy Blue, Deathly, Overtime, Hoshino, The Tunnel, Bionic Girl, and Disco Inferno.
On to the Top 10…
It’s really striking how well director Alejandro Montoya Marin understands the experience of being an artist, most of all a starving artist. You feel something of a fire in your belly to express yourself and show the world how much you can give to them in the way of art, and sometimes it’s so difficult to get by. Alejandro Montoya Marin’s is a pretty remarkable short drama that focuses on the life of a singer and songwriter named Holly, who is struggling to get a solid gig at local clubs to perform for audiences. She’s barely scraping by and is now experiencing the end of a very intense relationship with the love of her life.
Blood in the Snow, also known as BITS, ran from November 25th to the 27th in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and showcased as it usually does a wide array of horror and genre related feature films, short films, and documentary. This year’s crop of films has something from everyone including a documentary on the resurgence of posters as collectibles, a postpartum-tinged thriller, a short about a cannibal runner, etc.
The films were of high quality and most were great fun to watch. In case you missed any of Cinema Crazed’s coverage, here it is in one nifty spot.
Ingrid & the Black Hole (Canada) (2016)
A boy and a girl see what they think is a black hole one night and ponder on time travel. Written and directed by Leah Johnston, this short is sweet without being saccharine and it has a touching way of going through these two kids’ lives and showing how a small thing can affect someone for a very long time. The cinematography by Christopher Ball looks great and shows the night sky in a beautiful manner as well as the interpersonal relationships of the characters through the years.